Raptors 103, Bobcats 107 – Box

Damn it man, this game should’ve been ours. Solid start after a grueling game the night before, the second quarter is where we picked up and built a big lead, and it seemed halftime came just at the right time to give the fatigued legs a break. I expected the third to be much like the second, when the Raptors seemed to be rising above the tired legs, spreading the workload, and functioning fluidly on the backs of an inspired defense. Alas, the fatigue turned out to be of Hedo-levels, and the third was a nightmare of 38-14 proportions. Somewhere between the second and third was a 26 point swing (15 point Raptors lead turned into an 11 point deficit). Two-thirds of the fourth were a stalemate, and the Raptors made an unforeseen run late to cut it to two, but Augustin’s FTs sealed the deal.

Player of the game? As the Roll Call points out, it’s Jerryd Bayless without a doubt. He began the game hitting three threes which kickstarted the team, all in rhythm and flow of the game, and ended it with 14 in the fourth quarter to make a game of it late. Tremendous performance by Bayless who also had 6 assists and 4 steals. As his offense was getting the Raptors going early, Charlotte’s only plan seemed to be to attack the rim through DJ Augustin. With Gray starting ahead of Johnson, the help defense wasn’t as reactive so Charlotte had success in the beginning getting to the line on their drives. Casey tried to put James Johnson in a point-forward role on Augustin, which helped alleviate matters.

The Raptors shot 61% in the first quarter to Charlotte’s 28%, which rightfully translated to a 9 point lead, and would’ve been more if it weren’t for Charlotte attacking and getting fouled (11 trips to the FT line in the first). The second unit did its job as well, Forbes posted up Kemba Walker successfully, and Linas Kleiza went a manly 5-7FG for 11 points in the first half, making up for the scoring Barbosa used to provide at this point. The Raptors defense was, quite surprisingly, the most active it has been in a long time: every screen was fought through, the help was great, everyone had their arms waving, college-ball type stuff. Bayless and Forbes, who have a reputation of having the ball stuck in their hands, did a great job keeping the ball moving and the offense was ticking along smoothly. The only negative were the 11 first half turnovers, many of them unforced. Fortunately at that point, Charlotte was doing much of the same, literally turning it over where it was the easiest thing to run it back for points, which the Raptors did – 9 fastbreak points in the first half.

Over the span of the first and second quarter, the Raptors went on a 19-4 run which gave them a 15 point lead. Charlotte crawled back to 10 after some of those turnovers I talked about, and a very unfortuante sequence for Ed Davis where he missed two layups within 2 seconds. Bargnani wasn’t touching the ball much, other than throwing one down in Bismack Biyombo’s mug, and only had 10 shots, and DeRozan was relatively quiet in the first, so you’re thinking that despite closing the half on a bit of a whimper, the Raptors’ 10 point lead is well-protected since their two big guns haven’t got it going yet. Sure, we were shooting 59% at the half, and probably wouldn’t hit that rate again, but it’s not like Charlotte would shoot something crazy 80% either, right?

How wrong I was. Nothing plants the seed of doubt in your mind like a quick run following halftime, and fueled by silly offensive fouls that can best be attributed to fatigue and lack of focus, the Bobcats went on a 5-0 run to slash the lead to 5. That was it. Despite how well the Raptors had played, this was a five point game and both the momentum and the “crowd” against the visitors, and worst of all, the offensive failure was affecting the defense. The Raptors continued turning the ball over by committing offensive fouls and unforced errors, it also didn’t help that the officials started calling everything tight. A couple bad decisions by Bayless including hanging on to the ball too long, a back-to-back set of lazy offensive decisions leading to bad shots by James Johnson, was all the charge that Charlotte needed to light their offensive fires. They shot 12-15 FG (80%) in the third, with DJ Augustin burning Bayless right back for 12 points in the quarter. Victimized!

DeRozan in this quarter was 1-4 FG with 2 points and 2 turnovers, Bargnani was the exact same. The players who weren’t counted on for their consistent offense had gotten us this far (Kleiza, Bayless), and the players who we expected to carry the torch forward didn’t. End result is a 38-14 quarter which cost the game.

The lead entering the fourth was 12, and the lead with 3:40 left was 14 – 96-82. The Raptors didn’t quit this game, and Ed Davis, DeRozan, Forbes and Bayless shot the Raptors back in it, no doubt helped by a cameo from Magloire, and a pretty consistent night from Aaron Gray. The defense contested every Charlotte shot at the rim and the offensive rebounds were buying the Raptors possessions; when Jerryd Bayless hit his massive three with 11 seconds left to cut it to a two point game, this came down to free throws, which DJ Augustin made both of. He who laughs last, laughs the longest.

Moving on.

  • Puffer

    Nice write up of a very frustrating game. Was it just me or was the officiating very lop-sided in terms of fouls called. Maybe the Raps were just too tired not to make stupid fouls. 

  • Copywryter

    Casey should’ve kept the team on stationary bikes at halftime, because whatever inertia we had going into the break didn’t come back onto the floor.

    Wish I could hop on the Bayless bandwagon – the kid plays hard and makes shats – but I can’t. He doesn’t run an offense – he ‘is’ he offense. Not sustainable. Not desirable. 

    Is it me or have we lost to the NBA’s worst team twice this year…a team that wouldn’t match up well against Cabbage Patch Kids? Anybody can lose to anybody in most professional sports, I know, but not many teams lose to the Bobcats. 

  • JHP

    It seems they can not play a full 4 quarters, or maybe they have bought into the wait till next year program that the GM has been selling?  Guess we really will never know but the schedule gets a bit harder and we will see.  Bet when they play Miami they play up-to their level, fight the whole game but barely lose. Much better to audition well for a contender then a team at the same level LOL  

  • Triano?

    Bargnani: 28 min, -17, 7 TO

    FRANCHISE. CORNERSTONE.  

    • NyAlesund

      If you saw the game it was obvious that AB was tired. And not only him. If you add Bayless incapable to serve anyone in a decent way, we can discuss forever. The point is, that now without Calderon we don’t have a real PG, and yesterday was clear.

  • Arsefan

    If Arsenalist stops writing for this site I will stop reading it. He is ways above the rest as a blogger.

    • Sam Holako

      So would I; dude is the best, most consistent Raptor blogger, period.

  • Cdhall

    Theraps seem to be playing to the level of the competition

  • Statement

    Free Kenneth Faried!!!

    • Nilanka15

      I just picked him up in my fantasy league…

  • Ion66

    After the good win against the Grizz, I looked at the schedule and thought “Oh hell…we could go on a 3 game win streak and have New York go flying past us in the lottery pick race.”…..I couldnt believe the late 2nd and 3rd when Charlotte seemed like they couldnt miss a shot. It was like everything they threw was laser guided. I was happy that we were owning them early on to the degree we did. If we’d been on our heels all game, I’d feel worse about this loss.

  • DC

    This teams terrible. How do you lose to the worst team in the history of the league twice in the same year? Keep believing that bargina is a franchise cornerestone. Were gonna suck for as long as he’s still on this team and BC is talking his bullshit. 

    • Lisa

      umm when he was out the team was losing badly…he’s still getting his legs under him from the injury he is going to adjust. on the other hand, the team sucked ass before he came back and they still kinda do but the fact of the matter is when hes at his best hes really good and this was just one of those sucky games. FYI bargnani didnt even play the first game with charlotte. 

    • NyAlesund

      Is the same team that won three consecutive times with the Cavs. Do you believe it?